Time is both constantly present and yet elusive to us. We can try to visualise time and on a basic level think of imagery such as the ticking clock or the ever present digits that face us every time we open our phones but these images fail to acknowledge time’s inherent relationship to space. They function as abstract time-keepers that help us organize our lives, orchestrating where we have to be and when. “Time” socially exists as a practical necessity, allowing us to function as a global society. It is peculiar however that “the clock” has become synonymous with the word “time” and yet when looking at time in astronomical and physical terms it is better understood as a process instead of a noun. Rather than asking ‘what’s the time?’ or ‘what time is it?’ and reducing time to a utility, i.e the clock, Andrew engages with the concept of time as a necessary and inseparable component of space, light and matter in order to make a broader commentary on our relationship with our surroundings.
His work as a result focuses on placing time in this context by way of studying light theory, astronomy and the human experience. He navigates the tension between human subjectivity and broader astronomical processes. Using methods that demand rigorous and constant observation, he visually represent a process that we often only have intermittent insight into. Andrew invites the viewer to observe change over time in one instance, as articulated by specific physical phenomena, with an emphasis on the parameters of the human condition.
For example in Winter Solstice Andrew took photos of the same patch of sky every 15 minutes for 24 hours on December 21st 2017, the shortest day of the year. He then presented this series of 96 photos in a line to denote the linear way in which we “keep” time and to highlight the tension between the rigid analogue clock and the astronomical process that it measures. The result was a visually impacting line across the wall that at a distance seemed like a gradient shifting from black to grey and then back to black yet up close looked like screenshots or rather a film real of the sky.
On March 20th2018 Andrew repeated this process in order to produce a second line that documents the march equinox from the same place. This exhibited along with the winter solstice at this year’s Degree Show and is shown at the top of this blog entry. The work is titled Solstice Lines: Edinburgh 2017-18 (55.9441° N, 3.1618° W) and is an on going piece. 2 out of a total 5 lines were shown in the degree show. Andrew has already photographed the summer solstice (21st June 2018) and will continue by photographing the autumn equinox and the next winter solstice in the same manner from the same place. He’ll exhibit the final piece consisting of all 5 lines in the Tent Gallery in 2019.
Additionally he’ll continue comparing solar events at numerous other locations as part of the broader series Solstice Lines.
Individually these lines capture solar events. Highlighting the regimented nature of the analogue clock through composition whilst simultaneously illustrating a process that describes time through constant change. Collectively however, they document the earths orbit and axes by comparing the changing length of daylight and the varying climate at different points of the year from place to place.
Underlining every note of the work are the parameters of the artist’s subjective observation.
In Scattered Blue (below) Andrew adopted a similar approach. It is a development of one of the works, Sky Colour Swatches, shown in his’s solo show CYNAOMETER where he recorded the changing colour of the sky over the course of an evening.
Scattered Blue is a proposed installation in which stretched fabric sheets, or even glass (budget permitting), are placed in panels across a space.
Each panel is a direct colour match with the sky at a specific time in the evening taken every 15 minutes. The work, through its composition, alludes to how light travels through the atmosphere by referencing the way blue light scatters through the earths atmosphere. The work simultaneously engages with a temporal dialogue as it demonstrates the changing blue of the sky in one instance yet if observed from the front, the viewer is looking at the average blue over the course of the evening.
The work therefor references the regimented analogue clock by documenting the colour of the sky every 15 minutes but it also speaks of the passage of time in terms of the physicality of light and the human perspective.
On another note, The Purkinje Effect has informed other aspects of Andrew’s work as it draws the focus towards our subjectivity in the context of the passage of time. The Purkinje effect is taken into account when estimating variable stars from earth; it is effectively the observation that in low levels of luminosity the human eye has a tendency to see things as more blue. Take moonlight for example, due to the fact its technically reflected sunlight, its luminosity is much lower than that of direct sunlight, however its Kelvin temperature is also lower making it more orange in colour. The silvery blue that we associate with moonlight is a product of the Purkinje Effect and moonlights low luminosity.
Andrew has explored the Purkinje effect in Long-Exposure Photography of Moonlight (shown below) and has also designed an installation proposal to illustrate it.
The installation consists of a dark room that is carefully lit at the specific light levels of a full moon. Using bulbs that collectively match moonlight in its levels of luminosity and kelvin temperature, three boxes will be placed in the space. These boxes will be painted in the primary colours (we’ll use the popular red, blue and yellow in this example) and equivalent colour swatches will be painted on a wall before entering. Theoretically once you enter the room and you allow your eyes to adjust the boxes will appear bluish and unsaturated.
Below are proposal images showing the boxes in the space followed by how they’d likely appear in the low level lighting.
The purpose of this work is to highlight the subjectivity of human observation in the context of time. The night sky from earth is representative of light traveling over great distances. When referring to light years we refer to time and space cohesively and although stars burn at different temperatures and produce different colorations they all appear sliver to the naked eye due to the Purkinje effect and light years of travel.
Finally in the work Sundial (shown below) Andrew illustrates how we project the notion of time on to our surroundings by photographing, every 10 minutes, the shadow of a tree passing over a rock.
During a walk through the Black Wood of Rannoch on the 25th April 2018 he passed a rock just as the shadow of a tree was edging closely towards it. He realised in that moment that his presence in the forest and his observation of this process willed the rock into a unit of measurement and as the shadow passed over it he was both observing and interpreting a sundial. The placement of the rock and the moving shadow of the tree were a chance moment of causality but by being there, Andrew demonstrates the relationship between the individual and the information that we interpret around us. Through his systematic use of photography he accents specifically how we project the notion of time onto what we observe.
Sundial was exhibited along side Long-Exposure Photography of Moonlight and the still in progress Solstice Lines: Edinburgh 2017-18 (55.9441° N, 3.1618° W) as part of this years degree show.